Once a month the Science Fiction Romance Brigade authors showcase snippets from new work, WIPs, cover reveals or other fun things. The link is here for all the participants.
I’m sharing an excerpt from my latest release TRAPPED ON TALONQUE.
Will an alien sleeping beauty awaken to save him, or destroy everyone around her?
When a Sectors Special Forces soldier and his team crash land on an alien planet, they’re taken captive and given a challenge–win at the violent ball game of sapiche and live. Lose, and they die, sending a mysterious, alien beauty to an even uglier fate. To survive, these soldiers must win the game and find a way to free the dangerous prisoner from her locked chamber.
Nate Reilly and his team are in deep trouble. Prisoners on a backward alien planet, they’re brought before an alien ‘goddess’, sleeping in her high tech seclusion. Nate is astonished when she awakes and establishes a psychic link with him. But her news is not good–he and his men must win a brutal challenge set by their captors, or they will die. She’ll give her aid, but in the end their courage and strength must win the contest.
Bithia sleeps in her chamber, as she has for thousands of years, since her own people unaccountably left her there. Viewed as a goddess by her captors, she must hide her ancient secrets to survive. But only the bravest of men may free her. Can she use her psychic powers to keep Nate and his men alive long enough to help her escape, or will her only hope of freedom die with them?
He stood wreathed in gray-green mists coiling around him like the ghosts of snakes before falling away to reveal the mysterious subterranean room deep under the palace. He faced the sleeping woman. Finding himself unrestrained, Nate descended the three stairs and walked across the chamber until he stubbed his toe against an invisible but potent barrier. Trying to reach through or past this obstacle, Nate saw his hands outlined in pale green light. He shoved harder. If he could just reach her, wake her, ask her a few pointed questions… As if sensing his efforts, she moved her head on the mattress and opened her eyes, revealing dark lavender irises flecked with gold.
“I am sorry,” she said, clear as day, in Basic.
But no, Nate realized, he heard the words in his mind, not with his ears. Her lips moved, but not to shape the syllables he heard.
“Sarbordon thinks you and I are of the same people. Therefore, what he wants lies outside your power to provide,” she said, as if the piece of confusing information would help him navigate the perilous situation.
“Why are you sorry?” Nate stayed with her first words to him. “You’ve done nothing to harm us.”
“I pity anyone trapped here on this cursed planet. The king will sacrifice you to his hungry gods when you don’t produce the miracles he expects. Demands. I—I didn’t tell him the truth when he asked.” Brow furrowed, she studied Nate’s face. Biting her lower lip, she said, “Honesty on my part would have brought instant death for you. He believes you’re my father’s warriors, come to rescue me, so I agreed with his conclusion. I said you were also sent to retrieve certain possessions. He’s desperate to acquire the marvels my father wielded. My deception may give you time, perhaps a chance to save yourselves.” She studied him from head to toe, and her lips curved into a slight smile. “You have the attitude of a warrior, one able to survive. You must play the game.” After a moment, she averted her gaze, but Nate still heard her next words. “Sarbordon will bring you here again if you earn the privilege. If you can survive to that point, I may have a plan, a chance for you to seize freedom. I can’t promise.”
He was woozy, possibly an aftereffect of the wine with dinner. Maybe the drink had been laced with a primitive drug. His powers of concentration were affected, and frustration with his uncharacteristic lack of focus built. “What’s your name?”
This vision he was having was dangerously fascinating, and he wished it were real. No one had ever even seen a representation of a living Ancient Observer, much less conversed with one. He accepted Haranda’s educated assessment that she wasn’t a member of the mysterious race of galactic forerunners from a million years ago, but the way her chamber was encapsulated deep in the palace, as if the building had grown organically to house her, spoke of centuries, if not millennia, passing since she was placed in her high-tech prison. The equipment must have kept her alive, but why was she here in the first place?
The incongruity of trying to solve her puzzle while his life and the lives of his men hung in the balance made him shake his head. This was one hell of a dream, built on his fascination with her earlier in the day.
“We’re not dreaming.” Seizing on his unspoken thought, she denied his conclusion scornfully, staring at him with wide-eyed contempt. “I dream only of death. We’re communicating. Perhaps your people are too primitive for the concept, fallen from the sky or not.”